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Articles of 2004

Rocky Marciano: Heavyweight Great

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On June 5, 1952 Jersey Joe Walcott defended his heavyweight title for the last time. Thirty-eight year old Jersey Joe beat Ezzard Charles in a fifteen round unanimous decision.

Three months later Rocky Marciano challenged Jersey Joe Walcott for the heavyweight title. On September 23, 1952 in Philadelphia’s Municipal Stadium a crowd of 40,379 fans witnessed Rocky Marciano stop Walcott in the thirteenth round to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. The paid attendance was $504,645.

In the first round of the fight Walcott dropped Marciano with a left hook. It was the first time Rocky was down in forty-three fights. From then on it was a bloody battle between two great heavyweights. After twelve rounds Walcott was ahead on all three scorecards. Both judges and the referee had Walcott easily winning the fight. The only way Marciano could win was with a knockout.

In the thirteenth round Marciano had Jersey Joe against the ropes when he landed a crushing right to Walcott’s jaw. The punch had Jersey Joe slumped on the canvas with one arm hanging over the bottom rope when he was counted out.

Marciano’s pet name for his piston-like right was “Susie Q.” It quickly became known as the winning punch in many of his fights.

In the rematch on May 15, 1953 in Chicago, Marciano kayoed Walcott in the first round. Once again “Susie Q” was the punch that ended the fight in less than three minutes.

At 5’10” tall and 185 pounds, Marciano was smaller than most heavyweights, but fought from a crouched position making him harder to hit. Other assets that helped “The Rock” prevail was his solid chin, a relentless desire to win and his power. Known as one of the hardest punchers in the sport, out of 49 wins Rocky only won six by decision.

That’s a record of 49 wins, no loses, no draws, with 43 knockouts.

Marciano made his first major impact in the heavyweight division in 1950 when he won a ten round decision against then undefeated heavyweight contender Roland La Starza. It was one of only six decisions Rocky won, but La Starza never let up on his relentless claim that he won the fight. He badgered Marciano with quotes to the press saying, “Marciano must be punch drunk from all the punches he’s been taking to think he won the fight.”

Rocky was furious with La Starza, saying he would make him eat his words in a rematch.

Marciano did just that on September 24, 1953. By then La Starza’s record had slipped to 54-3, while Marciano was still undefeated at 44-0.

In the rematch La Starza was able to frustrate Marciano with his clever defensive skills and well executed combinations. Finally Charley Goldman, Marciano’s trainer, told his frustrated fighter to “Bang his arms until he brings them down.” From that point on Rocky did just that, savagely beating La Starza’s arms and upper body.

By the tenth round La Starza could barley lift his gloves above his shoulders. By the eleventh round Marciano had him badly battered. After finally knocking La Starza through the ropes, the referee stopped the slaughter. La Starza had chipped bones in his elbows and ruptured blood vessels on his forearms that had to be surgically repaired.

It was July 1951 sixth round stoppage of Rex Layne and a fourth round KO over Freddie Beshore a month later that brought Rocky Marciano into the championship limelight.

In October of that year Joe Louis was on the comeback trail, racking up victories en route to a shot at regaining the heavyweight title. This was a fight Marciano really didn’t want. Rocky stated he didn’t want to fight Louis because The Brown Bomber had always been his idol.

In the dressing room before the fight Rocky was quoted as saying, “This is the last guy on earth I want to fight.”

As it turned out, neither fighter had much of a choice. Joe Louis was being hounded by the IRS for back taxes and Rocky needed the fight to avoid any delay for his chance at a title fight.

The fight did turn out to be a good bout as the aging Louis showed he was still one of the best fighters of the era. It soon became apparent that Louis’ punches weren’t hurting Rocky, but Marciano’s punches were hurting Louis.

Between rounds seven and eight Louis told his trainer, “He’s hurtin’ me, Chappie, he’s hurtin’ me.” Marciano ended the fight in the eighth with several punches that sent the ex-champ threw the ropes. It was Louis’ last fight, the end of a remarkable career.

After the fight Louis was quoted as saying, “When he beat me, I think it hurt him worse than it hurt me.”

That fight was followed by Marciano’s kayo victories over Lee Savold, Gino Buonvino, Bernie Reynolds and Harry ‘Kid’ Matthews.

Those wins cleared the way for his heavyweight championship fight with Walcott.

Winning the heavyweight title from Jersey Joe Walcott was the icing on the cake that made the Brockton Blockbuster a household name.

In 1954 Rocky Marciano defended his heavyweight title twice against former heavy-weight champ Ezzard Charles. Both fights, the first held in June ‘54 and the second in September, were brutal wars. Ezzard Charles is considered one of the greatest fighters that ever lived. Before his fight with Marciano, Charles beat Joey Maxim three times, Archie Moore three times, Joe Louis once and Walcott twice.

Both fights with Marciano were two of the most savage fights of all time.

Marciano’s last fight was against Archie Moore in New York on September 21, 1955. The fight was just one more brutal bloody war for The Rock. Moore dropped Marciano in the second round. For only the second time in his career, Rocky would touch the canvas. Moore was knocked down in the sixth and twice in the eighth. Marciano won the fight by a ninth round KO. After this fight, Marciano retired with an unblemished record of 49-0 (43 KOs).

Articles of 2004

2004 Boxing Pound for Pound List

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The final boxing pound-for-pound list of the year for 2004.

1. Bernard Hopkins: The top guy from beginning to end, Hopkins took care of Oscar De La Hoya with a body shot in the biggest fight of 2004. Now, he'll wait for Jermain Taylor to progress a little further, or he'll go the rematch route with Felix Trinidad. Either way, Hopkins stands to earn a lot of money in 2005 and extend that all-time middleweight reign.

2. Floyd Mayweather: How long has it been since we've seen Mayweather in a meaningful fight? Certainly not in 2004, when he outpointed the difficult DeMarcus Corley. He's slated for a January outing against a no-name. Enough stalling, already, “Pretty Boy”. Fight someone we care about (preferably Kostya Tszyu), or you'll lose your #2 position sometime in 2005.

3. Felix Trinidad: “Tito” stormed back with a magnificent knockout of Ricardo Mayorga in 2004, and now hopes to capitalize on it with big money fights. He'd like nothing more than a rematch with his only conqueror, Hopkins, but he may also opt for old nemesis Oscar De La Hoya. Either way, Trinidad is sure to fight a big fight sometime in the coming year.

4. Kostya Tszyu: What a difference one fight makes. As recently as late October, the boxing world was wondering whether Tszyu was even serious about the sport anymore. We found out with a second round demolition of Sharmba Mitchell. And that made the junior welterweight division very attractive. Tszyu has several options now, including Arturo Gatti and Mayweather or even a hop up to welterweight to challenge Cory Spinks. Let's hope one of them happens in 2005.

5. Manny Pacquiao: Pacquiao fought twice in 2004, and what a fight the first one was. His thrilling war with Juan Manuel Marquez was the best brawl of the year, and there is a chance that the two rivals will go at it again in 2005. If not, Pacquiao has a list full of options: Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, etc. Pacquiao will fight one of them in the next year.

6. Marco Antonio Barrera: Another guy thought to be washed up when the year started, Barrera resurrected his career for the second time with a masterful victory over Paulie Ayala and a close decision over rival Erik Morales in another great fight. Barrera is obviously shooting for a return with Pacquiao, who decimated him in November 2003. Barrera says it was an off-night. Hopefully, we'll find out if that was the case.

7. Winky Wright: Winky entered the “superstar” realm in 2004 with a pair of decision victories over Shane Mosley. The first was very impressive, as Wright practically shut Mosley out. The second was closer, but proved once again that Winky was the superior fighter. He'd like a shot at Trinidad or Oscar De La Hoya, but neither will happen. He'd probably be best off shooting for a name like Fernando Vargas or Ricardo Mayorga.

8. Juan Manuel Marquez: After several years on the outside looking in, Marquez is finally in a position to make some money after his courageous performance against Pacquiao. He rose from three first-round knockdowns to wage the fight of his life in a fight that was ruled a draw. It would also be interesting to see Marquez against countrymen Barrera and Erik Morales.

9. Erik Morales: “El Terrible” fought another great fight against Barrera, but, again, it was in a losing cause. He has now lost two of three to his fierce rival, and probably wants nothing to do with him anymore. But, eventually, talk of Barrera-Morales 4 will come up again. In the meantime, Morales could shoot for Pacquiao or Marquez.

10. Glencoffe Johnson: The newest entry, Johnson pumped some life into boxing in 2004 with a pair of upsets of Roy Jones Jr. and Antonio Tarver. Now, he's set to make some really big money in rematches with either, or a shot at old conqueror Hopkins. Either way, Johnson is better than anyone imagined.

11. Jose Luis Castillo: Castillo made some comeback noise of his own in 2004, beating Juan Lazcano for his old vacant title and decisioning Joel Casamayor for another big win. He says he wants Kostya Tszyu next, and if that materializes, boxing fans will be in for a treat. If not, Castillo vs. Diego Corrales is a great fight.

12. Oscar De La Hoya: Hard to erase that picture of De La Hoya grimacing in agony courtesy of a Hopkins shot to the ribs, but the “Golden Boy” had no business fighting at 160 pounds. He should drop down to junior middle or even welterweight again if he has any hope of regaining his past form. But 2005 could be the final year for one of boxing's all-time great attractions.

On the brink: Antonio Tarver, Diego Corrales, James Toney

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Articles of 2004

Heavyweight Joe Mesi Bringing Lawsuit

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As reported by the Buffalo News, Joe Mesi is suing the New York State Athletic Commission and the MRI center that conducted tests on the heavyweight boxer after his bout with Vassiliy Jirov. Mesi reportedly suffered brain injuries in the Jirov bout, which has left his boxing status uncertain.

The lawsuit alleges Mesi's medical records were improperly released to the NYSAC. The records, the lawsuit goes on to allege, were then released to the media, prejudicing Mesi's right to have his status reviewed by the appropriate boxing authorities.

The lawsuit does not seek specific monetary damages, as the extent of damages will be affected by whether Mesi is able to resume his career as a leading heavyweight contender.

Mesi hopes to have his status reviewed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission within the coming month. The ruling of the NSAC promises to be key in whether Mesi will be able to resume his boxing career.

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Articles of 2004

The Best in Chicago Boxing Returns

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Dominic Pesoli's 8 Count Productions and Bob Arum's Top Rank Incorporated along with Miller Lite presents SOLO BOXEO DE MILLER, THE ARAGON RUMBLE, another installment of The Best in Chicago Boxing on Friday, January 14th, broadcast live internationally as part of Telefutura's Friday night professional boxing series.

The newly remodeled Aragon Ballroom is located at 1106 W. Lawrence Ave. near the corner of Lawrence and Broadway in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood and is easily accessible, just 4 blocks west of Lake Shore Drive and just 4 miles east of the Kennedy expressway. There are three large parking lots located within a 1/2 block of the Aragon Ballroom. Additionally, the Howard Street Blue Line stops just across the street. Doors will open at 6pm with the first bell at 7pm.

Headlining the action packed card is the American debut of super-bantamweight Ricardo “PIOLO” Castillo, 12-2 (6KO's) of Mexicali, Mexico as he squares off in a scheduled ten rounder against WBO Latino Champion, Edel Ruiz, 24-12-3 (13KO's) of Los Mochis, SI, Mexico. Castillo will be accompanied to the ring by his brother, World Lightweight Champion Jose Luis Castillo.

In the co-main event of the evening, one of Chicago's most popular fighters, middleweight “MACHO” Miguel Hernandez, 14-1 (9KO's), battles hard swinging local veteran “MARVELOUS” Shay Mobley, 7-4-1 (2KO's), of One In a Million Inc.in a scheduled eight rounder.

The huge undercard bouts include;

Carlos Molina vs TBA, six rounds, junior middleweights
Frankie Tafoya vs TBA, four rounds, featherweights
Ottu Holified vs. Allen Medina, four rounds, middleweights
Francisco Rodriguez vs. LaShaun Blair, four rounds, bantamweights
Rita Figueroa vs. Sarina Hayden, four rounds, junior welterweights

Said Dominic Pesoli, President of 8 Count Productions, “it was a terrific evening last month and our fans were thrilled to be at the Aragon to watch David, Speedy and Luciano. David Diaz's fight against Jaime Rangel was a fight people will talk about for a long time. Our commitment to our fans is to make every event of ours better than the last one. This main event is terrific, both guys are very tough Mexicans who won't take a step back.

The fans love Miguel and Mobley figures to be a very tough opponent. Him and David Estrada had a six round war last June at our show. And the undercard showcases a lot of new, younger talent that is coming out of Chicago right now. Tafoya and Holifield have both had very successful beginnings to their careers and Francisco Rodriguez comes with fantastic amateur credentials and David Diaz says he has all the talent to be a great pro.”

“We've got big plans for 2005 and this show should take up right where last months show left off. The huge crowd loved the action last time and I'm sure they'll say the same thing this time.”

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